Westgate Optometrists Servicing: Massey, West Harbour, Hobsonville, Greenhithe, Westgate, Te Atatu, Albany, Kumeu, Auckland
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do my eyes feel tired after working on my computer?
Because your eyes are focused on the screen at a specific distance for long periods, spending hours on a computer, tablet, or even a mobile phone can lead to computer eye strain. The best way to minimise this is to refresh your eyes in the following ways:
take a 2-3 minute break from the screen every 45mins (a pop-up message on your computer is a great reminder)
make a conscious effort to blink frequently (studies show you blink about 50% less when staring at a computer, and 30% when reading)
ensure you have anti-reflective coating on your glasses to help minimise glare
try to avoid lighting that’s in your direct line of sight or reflects off the screen
place any reference or reading material at the same distance as your screen so your eyes don’t have to readjust
don’t forget your kid’s either - limit your children’s computer activity and video games to 45mins sessions
20/20/20 rule: every 20mins look at something 20 metres away for at least 20 seconds
If you still find that your eyes are tired and sore at the end of the day, it might be time for an eye test, even if you’re not due for one.
Why do my eyes often feel dry and gritty?
If you’re experiencing gritty, scratchy red eyes, then you may have dry eye syndrome. This often feels like you have grains of sand in your eyes, resulting in stinging and burning as your eyes fail to produce healthy tears. This chronic lack of moisture can also lead to damage on the surface of the eye, and if left untreated, may harm your vision or result in infection.
Dry eye syndrome has many causes, including being part of the normal ageing process. Occasionally it is associated with disease processes elsewhere in the body. And wearing contact lenses may aggravate this condition.
burning and itching, or scratchy, gritty feeling in eye/s
persistent dryness and general eye discomfort
occasional intermittent sharp, stabbing eye pain
feeling of a foreign body
sensitivity to bright light and glare
Depending on the cause, we can treat dry eyes accordingly. Sometimes this can be as simple as reminders to blink more and taking breaks from screens and monitors. Or, where necessary, we can prescribe a cleaning regimen to treat bacteria-induced inflammation of the eyelids.
What can be done if my eyes are red and itching?
Red, itchy eyes are commonly caused by some sort of allergy or allergic reaction, although there may also be other causes.
Common allergens include:
The most effective way of solving this problem is to identify the allergen and avoid it, but this is not always possible, and unfortunately the majority of over-the-shelf medications only act to reduce the symptoms rather then preventing the allergic reaction itself.
However, relief is at hand as our therapeutically qualified optometrists can prescribe the necessary drops when appropriate (such as antihistamines) to calm and sooth the eyes.
What are these floating jelly-like things in my vision?
Most likely they are ‘floaters’. These are just shadows cast by a differing consistency in the gel of the vitreous humour (the liquid in the back of the eye). Generally they don’t cause any issues but if you have noticed a sudden increase in floaters, which may be accompanied by flashing lights in your vision, it’s a good idea to have it checked as it may result in a retinal detachment if left unchecked.
What if I have blurry, fuzzy vision?
Firstly, if the blurriness has come on quite suddenly, or you had a loss of vision even for a short duration of time, you should call us straightaway and have your eyes checked to rule out any neurological or vascular causes (Tel: 09 831 0202). However, if the blurriness has been more gradual there are several possible reasons why you experience trouble focusing. The most common issues include:
a refractive error (long or short-sightedness)
your current prescription needs updating
health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure
ocular health issues such as cataracts or macular degeneration
The best way to determine exactly what is causing the blurred vision is through an eye exam, where we can diagnose the problem and create a treatment plan moving forward.
I keep getting headaches - is this related to my vision?
Sometimes a headache can result in pain around your eyes, even though the headache is not associated with a vision problem. Sometimes however, a headache can be a sign that your eyes are changing and it might be time for a new pair of glasses.
Visual-related headaches can also be caused through eye stress such as:
excessive computer or digital screen use
age related changes
an outdated prescription (which can cause you to squint)
poor posture and neck issues
Although often be attributed to the ways we use our eyes, there are many possible causes for headaches and therefore it is especially important for our optometrists to uncover the underlying issue(s) to ensure the best treatment options for you.
What if I see double?
The sudden onset of double vision can indicate a very serious condition so it is imperative that you have it checked immediately.
Are contact lenses suitable for me?
Mostly everyone is able to wear contact lenses with a variety of different ranges available to suit all types of eyes. This variety means contact lenses can be suitable whether you’re short-sighted, long-sighted, have astigmatism, or even if you’re finding reading difficult.
You may find that alternating between your glasses and contact lenses is an ideal solution as wearing lenses every day (or for extended periods of time) can cause the dryness or minor irritation in the eyes.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding your suitability.
I have something in my eye, what should I do?
If you happen to splash cleaning products or any sort of caustic material into your eye, you should flush it out immediately to minimise as much ongoing damage as possible – ideally using a saline solution, or even tap water if that’s all you have to hand.
Following this, your next step is a visit to your local hospital or A&E clinic as soon as possible for a medical professional to assess the condition of your eyes.
However, if the foreign body is of a less serious, damaging or corrosive nature, then a visit to us may be in order to remove the offending item (such as ingrown eyelashes) or the prescribing of therapeutic medications by one of our optometrists.
What makes you different from other practices?
We are a fully independent New Zealand owned business which allows us both the time and freedom to provide the highest level of service and support. We take pride in offering genuine, honest guidance and focusing on your own individual eye health. As such, we don’t subscribe to a ‘one size fits all’ approach as we realise that everyone’s eye care needs are unique.
We are committed to provide practical, personalised advice and the best visual solutions in the industry. This also means that we are not tied down to any one particular supplier and are able to selectively recommend you the most suitable options for you.
I’ve lost or damaged my glasses. Can you guys do insurance claims?
Yes we can certainly help you with your insurance claim. Once you have the claim number, we can send the quote direct to the insurance company for a ‘like for like’ replacement on your behalf. Once this has been approved, we will then have the lenses made up to the frames.
Depending on your lens type, we may even be able to get your glasses made a lot quicker than you would other places as well. This means you’ll be back up and running in no time!
Does my diet affect my eyes and is there anything in specific I should be eating?
Eating foods rich in antioxidants, healthy fats (such as Omega 3) and other nutrients like zinc, and vitamins E and C are key eye health practices that will benefit your eyes as much as your overall wellbeing.
We recommend including:
leafy green veges every day for their essential vitamins and minerals
oily fish 2-3 times per week as a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids
daily serves of fresh fruit and berries which are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C
eggs contain fatty acids, lutein, B-vitamins and zinc
a handful of nuts per week provides a vitamin E and selenium boost
dark chocolate provides antioxidant and flavinoid benefits
garlic enhances blood flow and helps boost the immune system
By enjoying these foods you may reduce the likelihood of experiencing dry eyes and macular degeneration. Some eye conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, are also associated with lack of activity and exercise, so keeping fit can help keep your eyes in good shape. How much you do is up to you, but even adding a brisk walk to your daily routine is beneficial.
Sometimes my eyes water excessively – why is this?
Despite sounding like a contradiction in terms, having dry eyes may actually cause ‘watery’ issues as your eyes overcompensate for dryness on the ocular surface.
Other possibilities include:
a foreign body or matter in the eye
allergic reaction to irritants (pollen, dust mites, etc.)
tiredness and lack of sleep
eyestrain from persistent close work
a build up of debris along the eyelashes resulting in inflammation or infection
harsh winds and weather conditions
As with any eye health query, we recommend you visit us for an eye exam where our therapeutically qualified optometrists can recommend the most appropriate solution for you.
How important is UV protection for my eyes?
Incredibly important. In fact, we can’t stress the importance of UV protection enough as New Zealand has some of the harshest UV rays in the world and the harm they cause is often irreversible (including cataracts and conjunctival changes). You also need to consider indirect sources, such as the reflective effects from water, sand and snow.
It’s also extremely important that your sunglasses meet NZ standards as the quality level of sunglasses tend to vary considerably; some providing only a small amount of UV protection. For the best protection you should wear sunglasses with a minimum Sunglass Standards category of 2.
Encourage children to wear sunglasses, even on cloudy days as UV light can still penetrate. A UV Index rating of 10 is considered extreme, and during our Kiwi summers midday levels can exceed 13.
Can blue light really cause problems sleeping or is this just a myth?
No, this isn’t a myth at all – the blue light emitted from devices like your TV, smartphone or computer screens are ‘short-wavelength-enriched’. This artificial light confuses the body’s natural rhythms, and suppresses production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, so your body doesn’t begin to prepare for sleep.
For a better night’s sleep, ideally we would stop using artificial light altogether. As this is not really a practical solution in our busy lives, a reasonable alternative may be to:
avoid blue light for 30 – 60mins before bed (yes, we’re afraid that means turning off your phone, tablet, and TV)
dim lights to encourage your body to start naturally producing melatonin
use blue light blocking lenses to eliminate its effects
We have the latest in blue light filtering lens technologies available and are always happy to discuss the various options available to find the best solution for you.
How often should I have my eyes tested?
We tend to assume that everything is fine with our eyes until we notice a change in our vision, but we may not be aware of the underlying health of our eyes (and many concerns are almost symptom-free). For this reason, it’s ideal to have a 45mins eye exam every two years to ensure your eyes enjoy optimal health.
As we age, and with particular eye conditions, some people may need to be tested more frequently which our optometrists can discuss with you as necessary.
To book your eye exam with our expert, locally trained optometrists please contact us today on (09) 831 0202.